Despite the high interest and concern around the rising phenomenon of mixed migration, there are virtually no systems in place nationally or regionally to monitor mixed migration movements in terms of qualitative information (while attempts are made to estimate the scope of such movements.) Policy formation, political debate and programming is thus taking place in a context that is largely devoid of tangible information. The challenge is considerable due to the clandestine nature of these smuggler-dominated movements and the disparate routes used and methods of movement. In mid-2014 the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) created the Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) as an attempt to address the need for better data. The 4Mi is an innovative, low-cost approach to collect and analyse data on mixed migration flows, initially out of the Horn of Africa. Through a network of locally-recruited monitors in strategic migration hubs, the 4Mi project sheds light on the conditions of movement and protection needs of people in mixed migration flows.
The idea is simple: 4Mi deploys monitors to do interviews with people on the move. Monitors are local individuals, members of existing agencies and others forming a network around key migration hubs. The monitors use a custom-designed mobile phone application which contains a questionnaire. The application is used to interview people on the move and others involved in mixed migration movements, and submit the data to a server. Monitors’ knowledge of their locality and contacts with people on the move or those who have contact with people on the move enables them to reach people who might otherwise not be able to tell their story. The data is then visualized on the 4Mi online platform.
The scale and scope of mixed migration movement means that a project like 4Mi can only find and illuminate certain pieces of the mixed migration puzzle. Other agencies and authorities may have other pieces of the puzzle, which, when added together allow us to understand mixed migration phenomena better. RMMS regularly produces briefing papers based on 4Mi data and other available information.
The present visualizations are the product of the pilot phase in West Africa, involving data collection by a total of 14 monitors in Mali (Timbuctu, Gao and Mopti) and Niger (Niamey, Agadez) over a period of four months (December 2016-March 2017).
The project has received kind support from Response 2 Resilience and The Global Disaster Preparedness Center.